“Faith isn’t always a leap. Sometimes it’s just one little step after another, with lots of falling down and getting back up in between.” – The back of my coffee cup
Every morning (afternoon and evening) as I sit with my cup of coffee I read this. And every time I’m reminded of my most recent adventure, cross-country skiing.
Over the New Year’s I spent some time visiting my favorite Canadian. During the trip we went cross-country skiing. My only prior skiing experience was back in the 6th grade and up until a few weeks ago, I swore I would never ski again. But knowing that I’ve changed a lot this past year I decided to have a little grace for the sport and was willing to try it again. Besides, cross-country skiing is entirely different from down hill skiing, right?
Oh Allison, oh precious, sweet Allison… Had I known then what I know now, I would have said no. Run away. Escape. But I didn’t. And the four hour skiing trip brought to life exactly what the quote on my coffee cup suggested, “lots of falling down and getting back up in between.”
I walked away from that day with significant bruising to my bum, thighs, coccyx and pride. But spiritually, it was a battle that needed to be fought. I fell again and again. I cried. Then I laughed. And then I cried some more. But I survived. I kept pushing through and when I couldn’t do it on my own any more, there wasn’t sarcasm, joking, condemnation or ridicule. There was love, helping hands, support and grace. Beautiful grace.
I spent a good time this afternoon chatting it up with Jesus and talking about this whole faith thing and asking more about that grace thing. I want to be faithful, strong and obedient. But lately I’ve sucked it up. A lot. I’m angry and rude. Cynical and bitter. Those traits are not attractive on me. In fact, I’ve been seeing more and more this past week just how ugly I am. And Jesus told me today that yeah, I’m looking quite broken and bruised. But he sees me fighting to follow him. And he keeps pursuing me because he loves me.
Life this past week hasn’t looked like leaps of faith. But rather attempts at small steps that have landed me on my butt or face down in the mud, kind of like playing the QWOP game. I’m trying. I really am. But somehow I trip. Somewhere between then and now I’ve grown weary. And I’m finally seeing it for what it is: brokenness and a daily, hourly, minute-to-minute need for his grace.
As my lungs need the air to breathe, so my soul needs his grace to survive.
While I spent a year serving him in 11 different nations, sharing his love, grace and mercy, though I’ve stepped into freedom from lies and started walking in truth, I’m not fully fixed. I’m not perfection. I’m still a broken vessel in need of many more repairs. And by his grace, he’s still working in me.
Don’t be content to live life sitting on your bum in the cold Canadian snow. It’s not fun, it hurts and it’s stinking cold. But God’s hand is already reaching out to pull you back up, bring you healing and support you as you carry on. Receive his grace and take one step. Feel his arms wrap around you and take another step. Don’t feel pressured to run and finish the race. Again, enjoy the journey with your Father taking it one step at a time. One day at a time. He’s picking up your pieces and putting them back together little by little.